As we journey deeper into Lent, we pause to reflect on the Second Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary: the Scourging at the Pillar.
This violent scene is depicted in all four Gospels (Luke’s Gospel refers to Jesus being “beaten.”) with very little description, yet it is one of the most vivid images of the Passion, because it was such a barbarous act intended to humiliate the victim and instill fear in onlookers. It’s important to recall, however, that this barbarous act was not relegated to Roman history. It is a part of our own American history as a punishment inflicted upon enslaved Africans who attempted to run away.
The most crucial elements of the Gospel scene are the facts that Jesus is innocent and he is voiceless. As I mentioned in the first installment of this series, the Sorrowful Mysteries begin Jesus’ descent into hell, as he stands with those who face unjust punishment and who have no voice and feel separated from all that is good.
While it is gratifying that whipping posts are largely a thing of the past, we must remember that there continue to be far too many innocent people in our world who face unjust punishments and who have no voice. Jesus stands with them. As followers of Jesus, it is our duty to stand with and speak out on behalf of those who have no voice and who are being unjustly punished.
Inspired by Catholic Social Teaching, we are called to protect the most vulnerable, to stand in solidarity with others, and to protect the rights and dignity of all people, especially those who suffer contemporary versions of scourging—attempts to unjustly punish, humiliate, and instill fear in others and to take away their voices.
Let us pray this Lent for the courage to speak up on behalf of those who have no voice and to call for an end to injustice wherever and whenever it occurs.
Deepen your understanding of the Rosary by reading The Rosary: A Path into Prayer by Elizabeth M. Kelly and The Complete Rosary: A Guide to Praying the Mysteries by William G. Storey.